State House director of communication and executive assistant to President Lazarus Chakwera, Sean Kampondeni, has played down reports that the Malawi leader is sending Malawi troops to Mozambique mid this month to fight the Islamist insurgents.
Kampondeni told journalists on Monday, during the weekly media briefing at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, that Chakwera has not not ordered the Malawi soldiers to go to Mozambique.
His rebuttal follows a story Nyasa Times carried citing sources in the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) that say the Malawi troops might be dispatched as early as December 15, 2020.
However, Nyasa Times understands that Malawi’s planned military intervention has been stopped as unlawful in the absence of consent from the Mozambican government under two principal security treaties: the SADC Mutual Defence Pact and the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.
Chakwera, who is an incoming chairperson of Southern African Development Community (SADC), agreed to respond to the Islamist insurgency ravaging areas in northern Mozambique.
Five presidents who attended an extraordinary summit in the Botswana capital Gaborone, “finalized a comprehensive regional response” to the unrest in Mozambique, according to a SADC communiqué.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Elsenhower Mkaka said in a statement that the Sadc meeting did not discuss the issues of sending troops to Mozambique, saying the “support response is yet to be considered.”
The jihadists, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, have been active for three years in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique. They attack villages to sow terror and try to establish a caliphate.
Attacks, including the killing of civilians and clashes with security forces in various parts of Cabo Delgado province, have increased in recent weeks.
The UN considers the human rights situation “increasingly alarming”.
According to the United Nations and NGOs, the crisis has already caused, more than 2,000 deaths, over half of them civilians, and 350,000 displaced persons, in a strategic region for the exploitation of huge gas reserves. The southern African nation relies on the gas reserves to increase its income and become one of the world’s main exporters.
The presidents of Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe attended the meeting. Tanzania was represented by its Vice President and Mozambique by its Minister of Defense.
Last week, Mozambique and neighbouring Tanzania signed an agreement to fight jihadists locally known as Al-Shabab, meaning the ‘’youth’’ in Arabic.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :